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Morning brew

Center Brendan Haywood is having a stellar season, which has been nearly overshadowed by the Wizards' slow start. Michael Lee writes about that -- and previews the game against Etan Thomas and the Oklahoma City Thunder -- for today's newspaper. On the blog, he recounts how DeShawn Stevenson got inside LeBron James's head on Wednesday night.

Dan Steinberg examines Earl Boykins's role in the return of Agent Zero and Boykins's uncanny strength. Not to mention the fact that Gilbert tweeted last night.

At the Washington Times, Mike Jones says the team hopes the win can serve as a building block to a turnaround.

Bullets Forever's Mike Prada offers a final wrap-up of Wednesday's win over the Cavaliers.

Truth About it reminds us: Don't call it a statement.

Around the League ...

The New York Times and Newsday are reporting that the Knicks have dropped their pursuit of Allen Iverson.

Last night the Hornets beat the Suns, 110-103 and the Jazz topped the Spurs, 90-83. Here's The Daily Zap:

By Alexa Steele  |  November 20, 2009; 11:02 AM ET
Categories:  Morning brew  
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Next: The Other Side: Oklahoma City Thunder

Comments

First

Posted by: Hawaiiexpat | November 20, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

don't know if we have anyone to match up well defending KD.

with that said, I still think we should win.

Posted by: millineumman | November 20, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

"Not trying to speak negatively about anyone, but in previous years, I was playing like I had to make something happen. If it didn't happen in the first five minutes I felt like I had to do something or I might not play in the second half. That's a tough way to play. Now, it's a little bit different. I think Flip has confidence in me and I benefit from it." Haywood...

That statement says it all. This is something that I noticed for the longest time with EJ, but some kind of way others did not see it and they always thought Haywood was being a malcontent and not a team player.

Why EJ had to keep playing those dumb mind games I will never know. I am glad to see Haywood has a coach who is not into that kind of stuff and who gives minutes to the people who deserve it.

Posted by: BulletsFever | November 20, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

i'd see if AB or DMac can hang with KD if CB can't. AB would be more physical, and DMac has the length,size, and quicks to hang with KD, but keep in mind KD is making his move for stardom and some even say superstardom, so i don't know how many guys in the L can really hang with him. I'm more worried about westbrook and sefolosha. those guys give the wiz fits. thabo not so much with this scoring power but more so the defense hustle and and timely shooting.then again i don't even know OKC starting 5 so ............

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | November 20, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Wiz are going to be in a difficult position salary-cap wise this offseason if they expect to re-sign both BTH and Miller. James contract comes off the books which free us about $7M, but that will likely be on the low side of what Haywood will command in the FA market given the lack of quality centers.

Miller may be willing to stay for a lower salary to play for a contender, but he'll also be in demand. Ernie will have some tough choices to make regarding the players surrounding the Big 3 assuming the team makes the playoffs.

Posted by: wizfan89 | November 20, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

lilhollywood10 |

I would also give DMac a stab at him. AB, I worry sometimes with his stamina on defending perimeter guys that run around a lot. I agree about KD's stardom and being hard to contain. I guess the Wiz do have to stop letting teams "other guys" light us up.

Posted by: millineumman | November 20, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Jeff Green can give us trouble if he's scoring or not. Russell Westbrook will be a problem tonight think a quicker will bynum, but more willing to pass off penetration. I dunno how many mins Harden will get but he was a top 10 pick and is known for his offense. and kristic was once regarded as a servicable big plus they have collison too. i see a good game, hopefully a win, but we're gonna have to defend b/c this team can score a lil bit.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | November 20, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate what Brendan does for the team and even think that he has been made one of our scapegoats at times.(we have too many of those around here). But this also a business and the business of getting better in order to make more money from us fans.

His offer would be predicated on what other options are available. I guess if we can't find another center or possible teammate then he has the bargaining chips.

Posted by: millineumman | November 20, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

great points. OKC has some dynamic young scorers/talent. Wiz will have to put out a good defensive effort.

Posted by: millineumman | November 20, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Tonight's game is far from a gimme. Flip's matchup zone dense will come into play because OK's perimeter guys are super quick. Our bigs have to be alert and protect the paint to at least make them think twice about pulling a "Will Bynum" on us.

Posted by: and_1 | November 20, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

zone defense

Posted by: and_1 | November 20, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully Durantula keeps missing from downtown, because he's unguardable when his J starts grooving.

I'd like to see Dom have a go at him, dont see AB as quite enough athletically to stay in front of him- not that anybody really can I suppose

Posted by: divi3 | November 20, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Idon't know whether the Etan/Haywood competition was handled correctly but I do know that back then, Haywood seemed to go up weak or fade away too much. His touch was worse but that could have improved with more playing time. The year before last Haywood had an excellent year compared to previously, but in my opinion he was stronger. In my opinion, I saw nothing back then that justified Haywood getting 30 minutes a night. Etan was stronger than Haywood back then. They both were far from being starting caliber. To say that Eddie should have started one or the other fails to recognize that they both stunk. Is it a coincidence that Haywood played well when Etan went out with the heart problem or would Eddie have given Haywood more playing time as Haywood had clearly improve? We will never know that answer.

Posted by: G-Man11 | November 20, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Wiz are going to be in a difficult position salary-cap wise this offseason if they expect to re-sign both BTH and Miller. James contract comes off the books which free us about $7M, but that will likely be on the low side of what Haywood will command in the FA market given the lack of quality centers.

Miller may be willing to stay for a lower salary to play for a contender, but he'll also be in demand. Ernie will have some tough choices to make regarding the players surrounding the Big 3 assuming the team makes the playoffs.

Posted by: wizfan89 | November 20, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I looked at this a while back and if I recall correctly, the Wiz have over $20 million coming off the books at the end of the season. That may have been affected recently with picking up NY's option, but not by more than $2 mil.

Of course, they will be trying to replace 6 players with that money, so they can't spend it all on 2 players.

Posted by: Blurred | November 20, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

The Wizards aren't in a position where they can afford to look at any game, against any opponent, as a "gimme."

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 20, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm honestly amazed that Lee doesn't mention Brenda's contract situation at all in the article for the paper. We may all know about it, but you have to assume the casual fan does not. To imply that Brenda's improvement is solely due to more playing time, and not affected by playing for a big contract, is just plain dishonest.

That's no knock on Brenda. He's a smart guy and a solid NBA player. Every one of us works a little harder around our performance review time, so why shouldn't he? The real test is his performance AFTER the big contract, where so many people just mail it in.

I love his new enthusiasm (is it me, or is he dunking a lot more?), and I've reached the point where I can say I'm a fan of his game and what he contributes. But I'm skeptical of any player who shows big improvement in a contract year, and Lee should be, too.

Posted by: bryc3 | November 20, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Next year Wiz are at $53 million before signing Haywood, Mike Miller, Foye, Oberto, Crittenton, Boykins or McGuire.

Has the NBA released next year's cap number or are they just saying that it's going to be lower? You have to figure Haywood alone will command near enough to put us at the cap and losing both Foye and Miller would really suck.

Posted by: jon_quest | November 20, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"James contract comes off the books which free us about $7M, but that will likely be on the low side of what Haywood will command in the FA market given the lack of quality centers."

It's more likely to be pretty close to on target to what he'll command, given (A) the economy (B) the fact that he has no real offensive game (C) his age and (D) his spotty track record.

"I looked at this a while back and if I recall correctly, the Wiz have over $20 million coming off the books at the end of the season."

That's only if they renounce all of their FAs-to-be, which is unlikely. And even if they did, they wouldn't have the money to go after any significant outside FA's.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 20, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

"Has the NBA released next year's cap number or are they just saying that it's going to be lower? You have to figure Haywood alone will command near enough to put us at the cap and losing both Foye and Miller would really suck."

Most projections have the cap as being at around $54 mill. But the cap isn't really the issue. Being over the cap is almost a given for most of the NBA. It's staying below the luxury tax that's the major financial goal.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 20, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Gil is NOT a point guard. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Yes, he plays the point for us, but 10 games into the season it is clear that he doesn't know anything about running a team. He displays that in his little tidbits during interviews.

His idea of what defines a point guard is "getting assists," which is only part of it. A true point guard knows how to get the team into its sets, knows where his players like to get the ball and in what position, and knows how to exploit the defense. Gil doesn't really know how to do any of those things. The reason he keeps the ball on a yo-yo is simply because he is looking for that one pass that will lead to the assist, rather than get the ball moving. It's not that he's selfish or doesn't want to lead the team. He simply doesn't know how to. We've seen him make some nifty passes this season, but there is a difference between that and actually running the team.

On the other hand, he is a helluva two-guard -- among the best in the game (which is, of course, stating the obvious). There is almost nothing he can't do with the ball from a scoring standpoint. If the Wiz were smart, they'd let him focus on scoring and take the huge load of responsibility for running the team off him. Boykins is a godsend in that regard.

They could use MM the way Chicago used to use Pippen. While he is on the floor (other than when Boykins is also on the floor), let him get the team into its sets, and then play his natural position from there. You don't necessarily have to alter the starting line-up, which is good in its present makeup.

Gil, though making a valiant attempt, is not ready for the responsibility they have thrown at him.

Posted by: bpybay | November 20, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

This is crazy man...Boykins is a good sparkplug after two games. Usually when people play for 9 teams and don't stick for too long, there is a reason. Boykins has no business running a team. He's too small and can get bodied out of where he wants to go and pounds the rock too much.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | November 20, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

My point is, Gil is not ready for the point, whoever else they use. They need to let him concentrate on doing what he does best, which is scoring. Gil at the point is a double-edged sword working AGAINST us. It takes him away from what he does best, and it places him at a position that is going to take him more time to adjust to than we have right now. It is an experiment that needs to end now.

Posted by: bpybay | November 20, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Nobody's saying Boykins is an ideal, pure point guard.
Since Boykins arrived Gil has logged some minutes as a 2-guard and I hope Flip lets him play even more.
Gil has already said that when he starts turning the ball over it makes him think that he needs to shoot more (as opposed to making better decisions with the ball). Is that a PG's mindset?

Posted by: and_1 | November 20, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

"Since Boykins arrived Gil has logged some minutes as a 2-guard and I hope Flip lets him play even more. "

Arenas was logging minutes at the SG even before Boykins showed up. It only stopped because with Foye and Miller down with injuries (and Crittenton already out), there wasn't anyone else on the team he could share the ballhandling duties with. That's the only reason Boykins was picked up.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 20, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Giving away 4 tix in Section 104 to Wizards vs Sixers game @ 3pm today.

http://www.wizardsextreme.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3648

Be the first to answer the questions listed in the thread and win!

Posted by: wizardsextreme1 | November 20, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Mike James was just starting to get some minutes with Gil as well before he went down with an injury.
That injury bug needs to leave the Wiz and go visit some other godforsaken franchise.

Posted by: and_1 | November 20, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

This is crazy man...Boykins is a good sparkplug after two games. Usually when people play for 9 teams and don't stick for too long, there is a reason. Boykins has no business running a team. He's too small and can get bodied out of where he wants to go and pounds the rock too much.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | November 20, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

SDMDTSU - The reason why he is was on 9 teams is because most teams can't look past the fact the dude is 5 foot 5 and 135 pounds. They don't or won't allow themselves to see that he is a "pure" point guard and a general on the floor. Folks get hungup on the external instead of the internal.

They (past coaches and gm's) don't or won't allow themselves to see his heart, his quicks, his offensive game (nice "j" and can go to the hole), and the pure energy and change of tempo he is able to provide to a squad.

So what he can get posted up on the defensive end, big deal. Most teams will use that ploy about 3 times straight max and then go back to their regular offensive sets. Gilbert and Foye got posted up by Wade and others on the regular and they are both over 6 foot 4. NY at 6 foot 7 gets posted up. That kind of talk, saying Bokins is a liability on the defensive block, is overrated.

Bokins plus's outweigh his negatives by a double margin. What he brings to the floor is infectious energy and you can't teach that or put a price tag on it. Look at the team on how they react to his play. Bokins brings a "Rudy" affect to the squad and in my book "ain't" nothing wrong with that.

Posted by: BulletsFever | November 20, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Boykins has always looked to score more than dish, is that a "true" point guard?

And on that note, is a "true" point guard a necessity? The term seems to have crept up as a way to criticize Arenas- and yes he hasnt played well.

But there are many instances of score first 1s in the league and they can have greats success. Tony parker is a Finals MVP whose game is based on attacking and then dishing off what his offense skills create for others. That's what Flip wants Gil to do.

Chauncey will hammer you all night if your 1 can keep him from scoring- just ask CP3. Who is yet another guy who scores a ton and gets plenty of assists from it.

Jose Calderon is a "true" point, and that's not the model we want from Gil is it?

Posted by: divi3 | November 20, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

and btw, Gil has one of the best handles in the league pre-injury but clearly it's a bit rusty now and is also part of what's hampering him.

let's give Gil another month or two and see where he is at...

Posted by: divi3 | November 20, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

"They don't or won't allow themselves to see that he is a "pure" point guard and a general on the floor. "

Unless you're taking heavy doses of hallucinogens, it's pretty hard to see something that isn't there. Boykins is not and never has been a "true" PG. More to the point, most of the PGs in the NBA are not "true" PGs, a state of affairs that's been in place for a long time now.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 20, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

"They don't or won't allow themselves to see that he is a "pure" point guard and a general on the floor. "

Unless you're taking heavy doses of hallucinogens, it's pretty hard to see something that isn't there. Boykins is not and never has been a "true" PG. More to the point, most of the PGs in the NBA are not "true" PGs, a state of affairs that's been in place for a long time now.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 20, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Dang. I knew I should have passed on those mushrooms in my salad.......I must have got some bad ones when I wrote that last post.......

Posted by: BulletsFever | November 20, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

SDMDTSU - The reason why he is was on 9 teams is because most teams can't look past the fact the dude is 5 foot 5 and 135 pounds. They don't or won't allow themselves to see that he is a "pure" point guard and a general on the floor. Folks get hungup on the external instead of the internal.

They (past coaches and gm's) don't or won't allow themselves to see his heart, his quicks, his offensive game (nice "j" and can go to the hole), and the pure energy and change of tempo he is able to provide to a squad.

So what he can get posted up on the defensive end, big deal. Most teams will use that ploy about 3 times straight max and then go back to their regular offensive sets. Gilbert and Foye got posted up by Wade and others on the regular and they are both over 6 foot 4. NY at 6 foot 7 gets posted up. That kind of talk, saying Bokins is a liability on the defensive block, is overrated.

Boykins plus's outweigh his negatives by a double margin. What he brings to the floor is infectious energy and you can't teach that or put a price tag on it. Look at the team on how they react to his play. Bokins brings a "Rudy" affect to the squad and in my book "ain't" nothing wrong with that.

All that is well and good but Boykins hasn't been a true PG since in the 2 games he's been here. He's been a scorer. Like I said, in both games where his defender is physical with him bringing the ball up it's hard for him to get in position or where he needs to be. Delonte West did it and basically pinned him in the corner and Mike Miller had to come get the ball, and I know in the 3rd quarter of the Detroit game I was like why are they still letting him bring the ball up?!?! the 10+ seconds he takes sometimes disrupts the offensive flow.

He takes bad shots but in the 2 games he's played they've dropped. Cool. People won't feel the same way once his FG% falls from that 52% he's at now to his career average of about 41%. He's even been out of control sometimes for us but scores so it's okay...if some of those don't drop (as the eventually wont) the opinions will change.

You really think GM's are letting him go because he's 5'5''??? Yeah he's a great player that helps us win but he's 5'5''. Let's cut him. 9 different GM's that don't carry about winning?

On defense (which I didn't even mention) Delonte West has his way with him and scored. You can't give him help against Cleveland because of the 3pt shooters.

Like I said...he's a good sparkplug for some minutes...but please don't overestimate his value after two games.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | November 20, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

some sparkplug.

Posted by: tgif11 | November 20, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

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